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The latest gun control idea is to limit the sales of ammunition. When controls are put on a free market, a black market opens up. A black market in ammo would be lucrative and not that hard to set up. This is not a way to keep ammunition out of the hands of criminals. It will be a way for criminals to make money.
The problem is not guns or ammunition. The problem is unbalanced minds. We need to be interacting with families that are having trouble and, especially, with young men who are struggling. More money needs to be spent on this area of our culture, and I know that means more taxes. The cheap way for politicians to look like they are doing something about violence is to ban assault rifles. I know that a line has to be drawn somewhere. We need to think hard before we draw one. In Scotland in March of 1996, Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and one teacher before killing himself. He used four handguns. The British government passed a law banning most handguns. Do you see the slippery slope we are facing? First assault rifles, then the next gun in line used in a mass killing, eventually getting to most weapons. This is one reason why gun owners are up in arms about banning assault rifles.
Many things can set off an unbalanced mind. Cars, video games, guns, knives, the list can go on and on. A balanced mind can drive, play video games, handle guns, play soccer, football, etc., without becoming homicidal. Someone with mental problems of a certain type can become homicidal for many reasons. I do not know much about mental illness except that we are not doing a very good job of treating it at this time. It is more convenient and it costs less to blame the instrument that the unbalanced person uses it than it is to take care of that person.
There are changes that are more sensible and workable than limiting guns and ammunition. For example, the young man at Sandy Hook school, it was reported that he was at the school the day before and argued with four staff members. It seems to me that anyone who is not connected with a school and who shows up on the campus needs to spend at least one night in jail while being examined. Does this limit our freedom? Yes it does, but I would rather lose my liberty for a few days that lose the right to bear arms forever.
Re-establishing the mental health hospitals that were closed by Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California is another possible change. They were expensive to run, and it would be very expensive to start up the mental hospitals again. What price do you put on the life of a child? The argument against the mental hospitals was that they were taking away a person’s civil liberty. Mandated treatment of the mentally ill has to be monitored carefully; more expense, but it is something that is needed.
A gun control argument against assault rifles is that no one needs them to hunt. I am more comfortable with a fairly large segment of our society owning and developing their skills with an assault rifle than I am with a decision that there is no need for such a weapon. I have not yet met a person who valued guns and used them for target shooting and hunting that I am not comfortable around. Maybe I just don’t get around that much, but gun people are pretty good Americans as far as I have seen. And, you know what? Shooting guns is fun, especially when your skills are improving, even when you just shoot at a target. Criminals will get guns from these people only by committing an illegal act like theft.
A letter in the Jan. 2 Mountain Democrat concerned the war on Christmas, and named one part of the war as a clerk recommending a gun as a Christmas present. There is a much larger war on guns than there is one on Christmas. We need to calm down, and be vigilant. We do not need any more restrictions on gun ownership except in cases where the person who wants to buy the gun is mentally ill.
The founding fathers were looking at organized militias; maybe we should define a militia and require gun owners to belong to one. The Founding Fathers knew their neighbors; we have too many neighbors to know them all. We need to do a lot more thinking before we pass useless and unnecessary laws.